Lacuna Coil’s Black Anima Show in Glasgow

Review by Jessica Clingempeel | November 13th, 2019

I have been looking forward to seeing Lacuna Coil again for a while, as the first time I saw them was several years ago, back in Lynchburg, Virginia. The night didn’t go well for me then. I ended up leaving as Lacuna Coil was coming onto stage at that point. So this was my second chance and I loved every bit of it.

Opening the night was the band Infected Rain. I had never seen them live and had only heard one song by them prior to this show. If you are having doubts about this band I will tell you now, don’t. They put on an amazing performance and I am a new found fan. The only downside to Infected Rain was that the setlist was just too short, but with a curfew of 10pm due to also being a night club, they would not have had the time to play a few more songs. As I said, great start to the night.

Next up was Eluveitie. I have been a fan for a few years now and was looking forward to seeing them as well. They played at Wacken this year as well, but due to a clash with something else, I did not get to see them apart from a song or two on the big screen. There was also a downside to this performance. More because of space issues rather than band issues. The stage was just too small for such a big band. Some members stayed in certain spots due to the limitation of the stage. Once again though, flawless performance. One of my favourites would have to be the performance of Artio, which I recorded and you can view that video below. Fabienne is a beautiful vocalist with a very nice register to her voice. Their set lasted about an hour.

Last, the main course for tonight, Lacuna Coil. The energy that started the show was kept throughout. The setlist had a lot of my favourites, including many from their latest release, “Black Anima”. Their set lasted for an hour and a half. Many of the North American concert goers stated that their setlist included a choice of “Heaven’s a Lie” or “Swamped”. Luckily enough, we were able to hear both. At one point, the members left the stage, and when you think all is done, they come; Cri and Andrea wearing santa hats, and “Naughty Christmas” is performed. Such a fun and strange song, haha. I am very glad I got the chance to see them again while visiting Scotland. There were no disappointments.

I give the entire night 5 out of 5. All bands were amazing, very energetic, and kept the crowd going the entire time. Check out the exclusive videos below and some photos.

*Was finally great to personally meet the woman we have had the pleasure to interview several times.*

© All photos and videos here have been taken by me, Jessica Clingempeel. Please credit and/or link to this page. Thanks.

*Naughty Christmas*
*Clip of Heaven’s a Lie*
*Eluveitie: Artio*

Review of Lacuna Coil’s Show in Cleveland 2019

Review by Joshua Becker | October 17, 2019

This is my first concert review, as I had never actually been to a concert until this one. Being this was my first concert ever, I had no idea what to expect, and if I would be disappointed, but I definitely had a kick-ass time.

 The concert that night was absolutely amazing, something like I have never experienced before. When Lacuna Coil came on stage, the fans went absolutely fucking crazy. I had never heard so much screaming and fanfare in my life before. 

Their first song, “Blood, Tears, Dust,” introduces the band. Cristina and Andrea enter stage left and the crowd gets even louder and more boisterous than when the song began.

Once the drums kick in, Cristina starts vocalising then asks everyone in the crowd to scream and everyone in the crowd goes absolutely insane, and, at this moment, it became clear to me that the vast majority of the crowd came to see Lacuna Coil and nobody else.

Another notable moment was at the end of “Trip the Darkness,” there was a blue light show, timed perfectly with the guitar and drums, Cristina all the while slamming her microphone in the air in time with the beat.

The next song “Our Truth”, had a brilliant orange light show that was just, absolutely spectacular. In time with the beat of the song, the orange lights were just pulsating through the beginning of the song, toning down after the intro. You see Andrea jumping up and down and Cristina going right into vocalising. Towards the tail end of the song, you can see them both jumping up and down, just having a great time with the crowd.

One thing I have to commend Lacuna Coil on is that how they sound on stage is very similar to how they sound in a studio recording, which shows me they have a natural talent and don’t need excess layering, auto-tune, etc, to perform. 

The set lasted about an hour, the songs played, were: “Blood, Tears, Dust,”, “Trip The Darkness”, “Our Truth”, “Spellbound”, “Reckless, “Layers of Time:, “Downfall”, “Zombies”, My Demons”, “House of Shame”, “Heaven’s A Lie” and “Nothing Stands In Our Way”.

Closing out the show, the set list is thrown into the crowd, along with a guitar pick, and the last thing we see is Cristina waving goodbye to the crowd, the applause echoing throughout the venue.

I absolutely cannot wait to go to another show, especially theirs, to see what it is like next time. I give my first concert, and their set a complete 5/5.

As for touring in The United States, Lacuna Coil most likely will not be back again until summer or fall of 2020. At any rate, if you have a chance to see Lacuna Coil in concert, I highly recommend you take that opportunity and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s just like someone told me: you never know when your favorite bands or musicians will stop touring or releasing albums, so make the most of every show and album you can.

Exclusive video clips from the show:

Review of Lacuna Coil’s ‘Black Anima’ by Jade

Review by Jade | October 16, 2019

POWERHOUSE. There is no other word to describe BLACK ANIMA, the ninth studio album by Italian metal group LACUNA COIL. Over twenty year in the scene has led them to what is arguably the strongest album in their career. Musically, lyrically, vocally, BLACK ANIMA delivers the sound that old school Coilers have been waiting for since Comalies. But does this album compare to Comalies? Not in the least, and they show us that it’s perfectly okay.

ANIMA NERA

I LIKE TO SUFFOCATE IN ALL MY MEMORIES UNTIL I CANNOT BREATHE

Black Anima’s prologue consists of vocals from Cristina Scabbia like we’ve never heard. Whether it be computer effects or her ability to change her voice into something even more unique than it already is, it doesn’t matter; she proves once again how far her vocal abilities have stretched over the years. Anima Nera speaks of the heavy darkness within – a short song of resignation to the empty emotions that frequently follow trauma or intense pain. In a way, this album follows the ‘backwards’ pattern – Anima Nera could have been the Outro and Black Anima could have been the prologue. And, of course, we get a taste of the Italian we’ve been so hoping to hear since Broken Crown Halo.

COSA NE RIMANE DELLA MIA ANIMA NERA?

SWORD OF ANGER

WE ARE THE ANIMA

Sword of Anger opens full swing with the growling vocals of Andrea Ferro. An enthusiastic mix of all instruments make this song a blazing follow up to Anima Nera. Lyrically, we feel the power of Andrea’s delivered verses, believing damn well that they’ve never lost their way and taking Cristina’s word when she says there’s more to them than we will ever see. Maki and Diego absolutely kill it on bass and guitar. There is no question that Diego really got to shine on this album, and even less question that Maki wrote this song with passion and a desire to try something new. 

WE DON’T HEED YOU – THE SWORD OF ANGER WILL CUT IN THE DEEP

Newcomer Richard Meiz, now drummer of the band, gets a chance to show off his skills in Sword of Anger as well. He doesn’t introduce himself in small doses. With Lacuna Coil, when you’re new, you come out swinging, and the drums in this song do exactly that.

One of the main highlights: Cristina singing underneath Andrea’s growls, the two contrasting vocals blending beautifully to make a melodic tune to match the heaviness.

BEYOND THE SURFACE WE DIG IN THE DEEP – THERE’S MORE TO US THAN YOU WILL EVER SEE

RECKLESS

TO HELL WITH ALL THE INNOCENCE

Reckless is the second single released before Black Anima takes the world by storm. Cristina shines brightly in this one, controlling most of the song with the occasional background growl by Andrea, and showing listeners once more just how far her vocal abilities have come. Reckless is the dance track of the album – heavy and single-worthy, yet still dark and fitting for the overall atmosphere of the album. 

I HAVE NEVER LEARNED TO COMPROMISE – I NEED TO FEEL ALIVE

Synths and guitars tear up the track in the best way, the bass and drums filling in the space nicely. The guitar solo is one major highlight – Diego has absolutely been a great addition to the band since he joined.

KEEP THE MADNESS ENDLESS

LAYERS OF TIME 

I LIVE THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND

Layers of Time was the first single introduced to us to represent Black Anima. Even though it’s the fourth song on the album, it was the first song we got to hear as a collective group of Coilers, and the song is explosive. Andrea once again comes out with growls and aggressive vocals, taking the lead in this song with more vocal time than Cristina while still allowing both to shine. 

I THINK I’VE LOST THE STORYLINE

Guitars and bass in Layers of Time roar into existence here and don’t back down. There is no such thing as a breather. This lends in a perfect way to the lyrical meaning of the song, an overall meaning conveying, in their own words: Our road is paved with pain, the past we can’t rewind. Layers of Time was the perfect introduction to Black Anima, and nestles itself as the fourth track to remind us that it isn’t the only song on the album.

TWISTING, TURNING, THROUGH THE BAPTISM OF FIRE

APOCALYPSE

WHILE YOU PRAY, WE DON’T CARE

Apocalypse flows with more melodic emotion than the songs prior, still heavy but allowing us a short break from Andrea’s growls and allowing us a glimpse of his cleaner vocals. We have a more gothic feel here, darkness coating the tone and bringing a strong lyrical message. Apocalypse is, without a doubt, one of the most impactful songs of the album lyrically. We can feel the pain and emotion in Cristina’s voice as she delivers her pieces, and we truly feel for her. We relate, and we feel.

WE START A REVOLUTION AND CELEBRATE YOUR LIES

Most surprisingly, soaring vocals blend well with the bass tracks here. Maki (bass) has arranged this to ensure the bass beats the message behind Cristina’s vocals home. An impressive use of instrumental, without a doubt. 

YOU’RE FAR FROM ABSOLUTION

NOW OR NEVER

I MADE MY WAY BACK TO THE LIVING WHEN I WAS ALREADY DEAD

In Now or Never, we’re swept back into the fast, aggressive beats of guitars and drums and Andrea’s forceful vocals. Bold riffs and messages give a nod to Delirium but still sits very comfortably on Black Anima. 

Taking a step away from ‘professional reviewer’ stance and slipping into hardcore Coiler mode: this is the song that Cristina Scabbia comes very close to growling in. Forceful, almost shouted vocals in one verse suddenly highlight her in a different view, and every Cristina-diehard is going to have their moment of squealing or their moment of confusion and hoping that doesn’t happen again. The force lends to the song in a perfect way, however, and just a little more of a push would have shown us a first from Miss Scabbia.

THERE’S NO MERCY FOR THE INNOCENT

UNDER THE SURFACE

ALL YOUR SENSES ARE COMPELLED TO LIE

Cristina leads this song once again, a solid track to sit at the almost-halfway point of the album. More fascinating synths lead into powerful guitars, leading into Andrea kicking off the vocals with passion. Under the Surface is definitely the most lyrically heavy of the album, not necessarily in emotion or message, but in the sheer amount of singing that goes on through the track lasting just over four minutes. 

EVERYTHING FEELS PERFECT WHEN YOU’RE SPINNING LIES

This song takes hold and doesn’t let go. From start to finish, a musical storm, no break. One of the most powerful songs in terms of instruments without a doubt. 

ILLUSIONS AND EMOTIONS ARE FOR SALE

VENEFICIUM

NOVA VIS AD DIEM NOVUM NASCITUR

Musically, Veneficium is the most powerful song on the album. A blend of heavy guitar and bass riffs mixed with the kind of emotional blast we got from Apocalypse, Veneficium blows it out of the water as one of the best songs on the album. The piece experiments with symphonic metal and use of the Latin language, and takes listeners on a dark journey through the entire process.

HERE I COME TO SHOW YOU ALL THE WOUNDS INSIDE MY HEART

Andrea shows off his clean vocals in Veneficium, proving he can still sing just as much as he can growl. The lyrics are powerful and moving. Overall, a strong track that stands up and shouts, “I’M HERE AND I’M AMAZING!”

I’M AFRAID TO SEE WHAT I BECAME – I KNOW THAT IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

THE END IS ALL I CAN SEE

THE PAIN IS ALMOST LIKE SALVATION

Tension rises slowly in The End is All I Can See, but it is, admittedly, the weakest track on the album. The lyrics are strong and the music is haunting, but it drones as opposed to putting up the fight the rest of the album does. It still takes a stand and earns a place on the album. Why? Because with just a little more effort, it could have been a blazing song.

NOW PLEASE ANSWER MY PRAYERS CAUSE THE END IS ALL I CAN SEE

SAVE ME

I CAN’T HELP IT, I’M BREAKING DOWN

There is no denying that the last single released before the album dropped would be a fan favorite. Save Me stands up for every single one of us who struggle with pain, depression, mental instability – anything that may cut us short in life. More melodic than dark and heavy, we can hear the pain in Cristina’s voice once more. The mantra of this song, presented by the band themselves: IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.

Musically, another powerful song that uses bass behind vocals to really hit home a message. We hear you, guys – it really is okay to not be okay.

STAND HERE BEGGING FOR HELP – THE ONLY HUMANS WALKING THROUGH THIS HELL

BLACK ANIMA

I’M LONGING FOR THE RAIN TO WASH IT ALL AWAY

The final track hits us right where all final tracks should. A strong closer with heavy goth vibes and soaring instruments (EVERYONE shines here), Black Anima bears down and reminds us exactly why we listen to Lacuna Coil. By the time the song closes, Coilers sit and wallow in the realization that this, indeed, is the end of another fantastic album – what is probably the band’s best album in nearly twenty two years.

I CAN SEE YOUR ANIMA

Review of “The Pond” by Break Me Down

Review by Joshua Becker | October 15, 2019

Hailing from Milano, Italy, (the same place as Lacuna Coil), this band is an alternative metal band, formed in 2017- so, relatively new to the scene. Interestingly enough, this band has been the opening act for Lacuna Coil twice, and I hear certain elements of Lacuna Coil, not throughout, but in certain songs- particularly the ballad-type ones- whether intentional or not, I don’t know.

At first listen, it reminds me a bit of Paramore, and the lead singer, Irene Franco sounds vocally, like Hayley Williams of Paramore at times.

You can hear the heavy bass guitar and drums kicking in at certain moments of the songs, indicative of metal. Though I feel because of the lack of constant heavy guitars and drums, this album would be more of a hard rock than metal.

There are two tracks, for me that really stand out “Your Game” and “The Noose”. “Your Game” stands out because of the very catchy chorus, and it makes this song something memorable, and I can see why it was the first single to be released. “The Noose” is another song that stands out for me, partly because the instrumentation is rather catchy, but this one also has a very catchy chorus.

Throughout this whole album, I can really feel how much time and energy the band put into this album, and I can hear the soul Irene sings from.

One thing I found rather interesting, with the production of the album, the songs’ instrumentals seem to get more heavy as I progress through the album. It’s as if the songs’ stories grow darker in meaning with each passing track. Great job on that one!

The only critique I have, not being a huge fan of alternative metal is maybe adding more bass guitars, more heavy riffs, and just more that would make this album seem metal, rather than a punk-ish type rock.

At any rate, I really did like this album overall, and just wish it had more of a metal vibe to it, but overall, the production is great, vocals are clear and don’t sound like they were recorded in a basement. This actually seems like a professional in-studio recording. Kudos for that!

I look forward to hearing another album or tracks in the future, just to see what you took from my review.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5
*Giving less points only because of the lack of heaviness.

“The Pond” comes out officially on Thursday, October 17th 2019.
You can listen to them in every digital store.

Official Band Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BreakMeDownIT/

Review of Lacuna Coil’s ‘Black Anima’

Track-by-Track Review by Joshua Becker | September 19th 2019

Before beginning the review, I want to preface, listening to the tracks and paying close attention to the lyrics, this is an extremely personal album for the band, maybe even more so than their previous records, and as such, it commands the utmost respect. So often, we, the media forget these albums are very personal for the artists, and extremely negative reviews truly hurt someone who puts their heart and soul, quite literally into their works. You can say something isn’t good in a way that is both honest but also respectful. So often, I have seen some absolutely awful and despicable album reviews. This will NOT be one of them, I promise you that.

At any rate, I want to start by saying your favorite Italian metal band is back, swinging right out of the gate, that dark, heavy metal vibe you all have been asking for is here, complete with more growls from Andrea, more introspection from Cristina, some really high notes from her as well, a lot heavier drums and guitar, and yes, yes, dear fans there are some Italian words in there, which I know many have requested. 🙂 

Lacuna Coil’s sound has darkened so much over the years, and especially in this album, it most definitely has a very heavy vibe to it, heavier than any album they have released. When Cristina said in an interview this album would be much darker than previous records, she really meant it. 

Each track you listen to, even if it is a “ballad” of some sort, you can still feel that darkness, that heavy-sounding  metal-type of vibe, especially with how many times Andrea has deep, low growls in the tracks.

I can only guess the band went through some extremely dark times during the recording and composition of this album to make the sound as dark as it has become. The analyses you are about to read are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the meanings to the band.

Music is one of those things where even if you cannot fully understand what an artist means in their work, you can still apply it to your life, and as Cristina put it to me in the interview on “Dark Adrenaline”, “it’s a cool thing about music that everyone can give a different interpretation according to the moments they’re going through.”

“Anima Nera” (Prologue)

This is the first track on the album, and can be seen as a precursor for what is to follow. An interesting thing to note is that it is the only song on the album that is completely a ballad, with no heavy guitars or drums in the background.

Even though it is not a heavy guitar, bass, and drum track, it still has a darker metal feel to it, unlike any ballad Lacuna Coil has ever done.

The track opens with some sounds in the background that sound very rapid, and the tone of them seems like it may be Cristina running from someone or something.

With a soft-toned piano in the background, and towards the end of the track sounds a bit like a siren in the background, which further may prove my theory about the running.

The first words Cristina sings are “I like to bury myself in pain, you know what I mean,” This is a very powerful statement as it suggests she is used to experiencing the pains of being human, and she has decided, even if it causes a delirious state of mind, she is going to embrace the pains and use them to their full advantage.

One might even say she sounds possessed or under the influence of some dark entity or force she is struggling to deal with, especially because while she is singing, it sounds like her voice has a higher pitch to it. 

Ending the track she gets lower-pitched saying in Italian “what remains of my black soul“, signifying this experience she went through has her question how much of her soul, which is already black from the pains of the past, is left. Perhaps the pain she felt has overtaken her, she no longer feels alive anymore.

“Sword of Anger”

As the name would suggest, this track comes right out with a heaviness; conveying anger, the guitars, the drums, such a powerful, thrashing beginning. Andrea being the first on the track, growling with such force you can really sense the emotion he is trying to convey. 

The first words out, “We are the Anima“, which may convey the band are the soul, the driving force of their lyrics, and going through not only this song, but all the songs on the album, you can feel that driving force that keeps them going.

As we know, without soul in music, you cannot get your point across as a band or musician, and you may even come across as disingenuous. No matter what song you listen to by Lacuna Coil, (and as a fan of over 10 years, I have heard every song, including bonus tracks), I can honestly say they pride themselves on their work, and they put every bit of heart and soul they can into their music.

After all, Cristina told me they don’t write about fantasy stuff, this is therapeutic for them, a day-to-day diary of their lives, what they experience in life, and how they are handling it.

With that being said, we get to the chorus “we don’t heed you, the sword of anger will cut in the deep.” What is the sword about, and could it be a metaphor for an ending to something that angered them? We will get back to that in just a second.

When you near the end of the song, Cristina says a line which gave me goose bumps: “There’s more to us that you will never see. What is meant by what she said? Who’s to say? Just like the meaning of 1.19, the band will always hold the most personal moments in life to themselves.

Right before we get back to the chorus, Cristina is vocalizing and the notes are so high and they remind me of a fight, and perhaps, this “sword of anger” is destroying their enemies or the dark and painful memories they have experienced.

“Reckless”

The second single, released on Friday, the 13th of September, called “Reckless” begins with what sounds like a Güiro, (which, if you don’t know is a Latin American musical instrument with a stick and ridges which creates a “ratchet” sound). In addition, you hear what sounds like guitar strings being plucked in a low tone. Then the thrashing of the drums and guitar come in.

You can hear a very haunting sound in the background, almost paranormal in nature. Cristina enters, “tonight, it’s going down, to hell with all the innocence…” 

Tonight, it’s going down” could mean no holds barred, they are going all in. “To hell with all the innocence” could mean maintaining an innocence could be holding them back, and they will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

Later on the chorus kicks in “you make me, make me reckless“, which means to me someone or something makes them act on impulse without thinking of the consequences, taking that pain they were caused and turning it into something. After all, they say the greatest inspiration comes from pain and agony we face in our daily lives.

The best thing to do with pain is channel it into something artful, whether it be a song, poetry, or even a drawing, just let it out. It is completely human to express your feelings, in any way that you relate to, and in any way that makes you feel comfortable and sheltered.

“Layers of Time”

This is the very first single released by the band on July 26th.

The song begins with what sounds like a clock ticking in the background, suggesting the concept of time, and how it cannot be changed, there are no time machines to get back what was stolen from us.

Next, you hear an electronic sound in the background getting closer and closer until you hear Andrea belting out the words “layers of time“. All the while, heavy guitars and drums can be heard in the background.

Cristina sings the chorus: “victims of time, we take our chance again, our road is paved with pain, the past we can’t rewind.” This seems to be another example of what I mentioned earlier about the concept of time fleeting, and never being able to change the past, and mistakes we may have made. Especially the line “the past we can’t rewind.” Even though time has been stolen from us, we will not relent, we will never surrender.

The bridge leading up to the chorus loses the heavy guitars and drums and has a ballad-like feel to it with much softer guitar tones in the background.

Cristina starts singing “twisting, turning, through the baptism of fire, burning, angels, falling, through the spiral of time“. Almost like being trapped somewhere, like a maze with fire all around, angels falling and being lost to time. 

Finally, she says “Through layers of time, we’ll live again, forget the past, we’ll be alright.” Whatever dark place she was in, it seems she made it out, for now at least, as we get back to the chorus and the end of the song.

“Apocalypse”

The next track “Apocalypse” begins with vocalising in the background and what sounds like a very ominous piano organ in the background. You think it is going to be a ballad, as the song starts off slow, but surprise, it’s not.

The guitar and drums play heavy while the vocalisation continues in the background. Andrea says “while you pray, we don’t care.” This could be about death, praying for someone to be saved, hoping and wishing they will be okay, and death comes.

Death doesn’t care about prayer as it is inevitable, just like time, you can never change either one, unfortunately, and we all have experienced loss, and we wish we could have saved our loved ones, or at the very least spent more time with them before we lost them. If only we had more time.

A different interpretation could be against an enemy. “While you pray, we don’t care” could mean “saving yourself will not work and it is a waste of time trying because we will destroy you and nothing will save you.”

Next you hear: “Apocalypse it’s going down, this time, and I’m surprisingly alive.” This may signify something has already happened and they are surprised they’ve made it through the flames, while scathed, they still made it.

Going through the lyrics of this track, I can’t help but feel there may be a guilt that is felt for being alive while someone else is not.

Towards the end of the song, you hear Cristina sing “looking through the hourglass“, further in “let the fate decide, right here“. 

Could this mean the hourglass is relating back to “Layers of Time” where time is fleeting once again, and they are staring into what time is left, then just say “to hell with it, what is meant to be will be, we cannot change that?”

Even though it pains us, we have to keep living, even those long gone, we can still mourn them, but we cannot stop the inevitable.

“Now or Never”

“Now or Never” starts off with a very melancholic violin, and you hear crackling in the background, though the crackling is very subtle. The heaviness rolls in, with Andrea growling “walk me out of here, take me away.” This suggests to me, there are moments they do not want to deal with, take them away from the pain, of the hurt they have experienced.

It could also be a metaphor for “the beast” since that is mentioned in the song. It could go back to a previous track in which like Cristina, maybe someone else is also self-blaming and appears to be their own worst enemy.

This song is very fast-paced, with the heavy riffs and drums, but there are also moments when the song slows down a bit.

Cristina sings “now or never, the time is right, out of your shelter“. This could be seen as a metaphor that they need to face what has been haunting them, and keeping them sheltered. If they don’t do it soon, it suggests that it could be too late and there will be more pain, more agony, it’s time to get back to the life they once lived. Forget the pains of the past, because as unfortunate as it is, we all have to move on, or at least try to at some point in our lives.

There is a part in the song when Cristina and Andrea collaborate, they are exuding a powerful moment together where it sounds like Cristina is essentially screaming and Andrea is growling, both with such force it almost seems like a war cry while in battle.

There’s no mercy for the innocent“. This could suggest just like in a battle or war, the innocent, if they are in the way, they will be hurt and nothing can be done about it.

They have not, and will not ever give up the fight, no matter how much pain, and how many tears they have shed, and whoever has wronged them will pay, even if an innocent person gets in the way.

“Under the Surface”

This track is very fast, to the point it signifies a passion burning deep inside. Heavy guitars, drums, this is an overall very heavy, fast-paced track.

There’s a line at the end of the track’s beginning: “but the smile is fake, there’s much more that hides behind, all your senses are compelled to lie“. This means, to me, someone has lied to them, or deceived them in some way, but they know that smile is fake, the person’s actions or feelings are fake, they can see right through them.

There is another line in the track “everything feels perfect when you’re spinning lies.” This seems to go together with what I mentioned earlier about deception, lies, a facade of someone or something that has wrong them.

It continues “but deep under the surface the battle comes alive“. Is this “battle” a metaphor for the fight that is about to ensue between they and the person or thing that wronged them? Does “under the surface” mean deep within their soul? 

They feel the anger building, they feel that they are so pained, so much aggression is coming to a point where they are ready to go in swinging, ready to go in with everything they have to teach the wrongdoer a lesson? 

As you progress more into the song, it seems that they don’t want to put up a fight, they want to be sheltered, they just want it all to go away, and they will fight only if they have absolutely no other choice.

The last lines of the song are “you never stood a chance, so keep on burying your head in the sand“. Perhaps this means the wrongdoer cannot hide anymore, and everything around that person or thing is collapsing, so bury your head in the sand because now everyone can see what you truly are.

You are naked in the eyes of others, no more hiding, everything about you has been revealed and you will suffer, with nothing, and no one to help you as you live the rest of your days in loneliness and isolation.

“Veneficium” (Poisoning or sorcery in English)

This was a very interesting track to listen to, not only because of Latin sung in the beginning, but because it sounds very symphonic, slightly operatic, which I have definitely never heard from Lacuna Coil- this track was a huge surprise to me. It kind of reminded me of something Tarja or Within Temptation would do. (Speaking of, if you have not heard the duet between Cristina & Tarja on Tarja’s new album ‘In the Raw’ do so now. The song is ‘Goodbye Stranger’.)

I can only assume the operatic vocals are indicative of their native Italy, as Italy, as we all know is extremely famous for opera. In fact, a little history lesson: the first known opera was in Florence, Italy in 1598.

We start with the operatic-feel in the background, followed by Latin, some of what is said is “nova vis ad diem novum nascitur“, which, when translated, loosely means “a new day is born”. I can only guess this means a follow-up of sorts to “Save Me”, wherein we heard Cristina’s monologue and how no matter what, no matter the pain and grief and fear, she will revolt with everything she has.

The opera still continues in the background, but the heaviness creeps its way in slowly, with the guitars and drums, as the operatic Latin is still heard in the background.

A line right after, “I’m unmoving like a stone, this silence screams so cold, I wish I was so far from here” stuck with me. Could this be an unwillingness to move because of fear, and the fact of wanting to be gone, to be somewhere else physically or mentally?

This song seems like a breakup of sorts, either mentally or a relationship ending. There is an overwhelming sense of pain to be had either way. In fact, the lyrics of the entire song suggest that: pain, the ending of something that was once held so dear.

Progressing through the song, you hear a line “here I come, to show you all the wounds inside my heart“. This seems like someone’s heart has been crushed, destroyed, shattered.

Another line that stuck with me heavily was “I would destroy my own life to consume your soul“, this suggests a readiness no matter what, even if it kills them, to take that person’s soul, so they won’t be around anymore to cause more pain.

There was a time we looked down from the clouds, we climbed sky high, thought that we would never fall, how come you didn’t even try.” This line suggests that they went so high, enough to reach the clouds, feeling on top of the world, suggesting nothing could bring them down, and when one of them fell down, the other person did not even try to save them.

They damn sure put up no fight, it was easier to let it go, even though the other person wanted at least some kind of fight to be put up. So often, when breakups happen, we feel this way, and we feel the person who broke up with us did not even try to work things out. It was just easier to let go than to fight for what is right. After this line, the song goes back to the bridge leading into the chorus. First, a very nice guitar solo seeming to convey almost sorrow, symbolic of tears being shed. Afterward, we get back to the chorus.

After the chorus we hear “Here I want to start again, keep learning day by day.” Suggesting that they want so badly to move on, to forget the pain and start anew.

I’m afraid to see what I became, I know it will never be the same“. The suggestion here is right now, a fear that they have been changed, they have been corrupted in a way by what happened.

A short line “here I come, I know I will never be the same,” suggests to me “I am ready to greet a new day, and to heal, even if this experienced changed me, I have not given up the will to live, I will not keep my heart cold”. Back to the chorus again a few times, then the song gets softer and fades out.

“The End Is All I Can See”

In the beginning of the song you hear what appears to be electronic sounds, with sort of a distortion that is being felt. Soon after, you hear what sounds like knocking at a door. Then the guitar and drums kick in, but not so heavy, rather milder.

The first line “I am just realizing, this pain is almost like salvation“, suggests “I have finally come to the understanding that this pain is almost freeing, because I can focus on it, rather than focusing on what once was, the loss, the fear”.

It also could suggest a reprieve from sins, for their part in whatever happened, just like the line “clean away my sins” later in the song suggests, “I will do anything to fix what is broken, to reverse time so this never happened”.

Clean all my sins because I want to be with you.” This line suggests that “whatever I did for you to cause this pain, I want you to know that I am sorry for my part, clean those parts of me, so we can be together again”.

The evil within, stinging and burning, consumes me with guilt“. The suggestion here is whatever sins, as mentioned earlier that may be at fault, were the result of some evil thoughts, and a guilt is being felt from deep within that cannot be helped because those evil thoughts were never intentional, and they wish none of this ever happened. 

Maybe, going back to the other songs alluding to time, there is not a way to go back to change what has already happened. A lot of us, myself included can relate to doing things we regret, and wishing we had a chance to go back in time and fix them.

But I asked Cristina in an interview if she had any regrets or moments in time she wished she could change, and she said “maybe they are but they might change who I am right now, which I am pretty happy. So I wouldn’t change a thing”.

I only hope she and everyone else can take heart in the fact if you could change the past, you could be a completely different person right now, and friends could be out of your life, different things could happen, and is it worth the risk to change what is happening now?

The last words in the song you hear are “now, please answer my prayers, because the end is all I can see.” There is a suggestion that the prayers for redemption could be wanting to get back the moments time had stolen, to be given a second chance to prove that things can go back to how they were before.

After all, life is ever changing, every evolving, and some things are great, some things we embrace with open arms, but other times we hate ourselves, we hate others, we grieve, we have sorrow and immense guilt.

We are humans, and emotions can be our greatest ally, as they convey compassion, or they could be hindering us, but that is up to the interpretation of every human being in the world to decide for themselves.

“Save Me” 

“Save Me” starts with a fast-paced but slightly-subtle guitar sound in the foreground. As Cristina comes into the song, the pace gets faster, and the drums kick in with a heaviness.

Save me, from myself, I could use your strength right now.” This is among the first lines of the song, and suggests Cristina is her own worst enemy and she needs help, someone’s strength to keep her out of that dark place inside her head.

Something I feel many of us can relate to, as there have been many situations in which we have felt we are our worst enemy, and just like she calls out in the song, we look towards any source we can to save us from the mental torture we put ourselves through. 

So I keep asking myself will I be strong enough to face this mess“. This next line may suggest she is concerned if she will have enough strength to face the music and deal with what has happened. Will she have the strength to get out of her head, get out of that dark place to face what has transpired.

Cristina has a monologue at the end, a sort of reflection on what has happened, what has caused her to get to this point in her life. Maybe she feels guilt for something? 

During the monologue, Cristina says she hates what she sees in the mirror. Without giving too much away, she can’t turn back time but she is not giving up.

In that last line of the monologue, she sounds like she is gritting her teeth in a way that is the strength being summoned to get through the tough times. That driving force has come back ready to seek vengeance.

In Lacuna Coil fashion they don’t give up, they keep singing, keep writing, keep fighting, keep thriving, and most important, keep surviving. 

The heaviness of the guitars and drums ends, and you hear what sounds like a soft, sad violin in the background and a very low-toned piano hitting one note.

This was the bridge getting back to the chorus, because when you think the song is over the heaviness comes back to the chorus. Then at the end of the song, the heaviness fades again, hearing nothing but that soft violin-type sound slowly fade out, 

I cannot help but notice the song, overall, seems like there is a deep fear that is felt, a fear maybe Cristina cannot change what she has become because of what she went through. In addition, her greatest fear really could be herself, as hinted at many times, but that is just my interpretation. 

“Black Anima” (Prologue)

Not including bonus tracks, “Black Anima” is the last track of the album. This has a very ominous, haunting melody with something sounding like it is reverberating in the background with what almost sounds like a music box also in the background throughout the song.

There is a mix of emotions I feel with this last track. I feel the songs before were fighting what cannot be changed, and this one could be about acceptance of what has happened, though it also suggests anger later in the song.

Maybe it is at first sorrow for what cannot be changed, and as you go through the song they say “to hell with it”, “I don’t want to be sad, I don’t want to accept what happened, I will not be beaten down and I WILL keep fighting. 

The first line we hear is “The calm before the storm, clouds are moving in anticipation“. This could be about the storm that is brewing, and how they are ready to have the rain wash away all the anger, sorrow, grief, and pain from them. Ready to truly move on, they need to be relieved of all the toxic energy that has been built up throughout.

Further into the song you hear lyrics that suggest it is almost time and they are ready to build themselves back up as the storm has passed. They are ready to forget about the past, forget whatever happened, and they are ready to be who they once were before any of these terrible moments in life happened.

Later you hear Cristina and Andrea collaborating “our world is afraid and falling, pain, we are chasing the ghost that is trapped inside.” Maybe the “world”, they mention, is alluding to their life, their every day existence.

They are afraid of suffering, an ending, and the “ghost” trapped inside could be the past, and the only way to stop the world from crumbling is to destroy the “ghost” being the past from all memory, from any existence it ever had.

Almost the last line of the song say “all the walls that keep us separated, we will break them all, and reunite, and when I’ll be gone, you’ll keep our legacy alive“. Could this bring attention to the fact the “us” is referring to the soul, the “anima” that has been trapped for so long inside as mentioned earlier?

Back to the line “and when I’ll be gone, you’ll keep our legacy alive” could this be about the soul? When the soul is gone again, because of any more pain, and suffering, and grief, keep the “legacy”, which could mean the days when the soul was not broken or lost in time.

Break, smash, disarray, chaos, rise“. The final words from this album, and from this suggest a summary of the track. Destroying the past, smashing it with all their might, disarray and chaos ensue because the pain has been felt for so long, and there is a fear of the unknown, of what may happen, what is yet to come.

“Rise.” Rebuild, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, they will be reborn, just like “Veneficium” says “nova vis ad diem novum nascitur”.  A new day is born”. We are reborn.

I cannot help but notice that a lot of the songs have some correlation with time. Whether it be to turn back time or trying to fight time to get back what was stolen from them. Perhaps that is why “Layers of Time” was the first track released, as it represents that theme very well. I mean, after all, the track title has the word “time” in it.

This idea has stuck with me the entire time I have listened to this album and has become the theme overall, at least for me.

I can only then assume, the reason this album is darker, and heavier is because of personal loss. I truly believe they are dealing with loss on this record. As to what kind of loss, I cannot say with absolute certainty.

In addition, some of the tracks suggest mental torture, something tearing them apart. They may have lost themselves due to what they experienced,

All in all, this was a fantastic album to review, and the chills the Goosebumps, the sadness, (yes, I got teary-eyed through some of the lyrics), you can feel, and even relate in a way to their pain.

This was my first album I have ever reviewed, and I can only hope you like it, and I can only hope I have done it justice.

I give this hell of an album 5 stars, and not only because it was so well-composed, it was very dark lyrically, dark states of mind were definitely apparent, and the heavy guitar riffs and drum smashing just add to it.

Before ending the review, I have to say that if you made it this far, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this review, I spent many hours on it, and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I want to apologize at how lengthy this is, but I wanted to do a very thorough review of each song, as the artists spent a lot of time on this work, and it means a lot to them, so the least I could do was give a very detailed, in-depth review track-by-track, rather than an overall review, as that is what I felt this album demanded.

I want to give a huge thank you, even though it may not be warranted, to Cristina, Andrea, Marco, Diego and Richard for sharing this masterpiece with the world, and for sharing such private and intimate moments of your lives with the world.

Thank you also to Claire with whom I was able to review this record and Jess, founder of this webzine, for allowing me to be the trusted one to review it.

You all are the anima behind the music.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Interview with Melissa VanFleet

Interviewed by Jade | September 2019

First, thank you so much for interviewing with us. I absolutely love your EP. I’ve been looking for something like it for a long time. What was your inspiration for the EP itself? Did you go into writing it knowing what you wanted?

Thank you! I wrote the songs on Ode To The Dark over the course of two years without a specific collection in mind. I knew that writing was helping to get me through the dark mental place I was in dealing with OCD and anxiety. I thought they were biographical or based on other people’s stories I had heard but in actuality I was so deep in this dark place that I didn’t even realize until recently that the songs were about what I was going through mentally.

Where did you get the idea for the title track ‘Ode to the Dark?’ It’s a beautiful song and the name definitely fits the style and haunting feel.

I had the initial idea for the title of ‘Ode To The Dark’ while on the Wacken Full Metal Cruise II. I was inspired by stories I heard from fans aboard the ship about how metal was more than music to them and instead it was who they were. One of the stories affected me and I could strongly relate so I used inspiration from that for the lyrics. The song took me two years to finish.

What was your favorite song to work on?

I think my favorite song to record was ‘Marionette’ because I had to channel something very dark and evil. We turned off the lights while I was recording vocals and Marco [producer Coti-Zelati of Lacuna Coil] was laughing because he was talking to me through the glass but couldn’t see me since it was pitch black in the studio. That song is the heaviest in topic and tone for me and I had to go somewhere else in my mind to feel content with my performance.

Can we expect new music soon?

I’m constantly writing and recording new material for different projects, collaborations and to pitch to TV/Film.

What about a tour or a live date somewhere?

I miss touring and playing shows but lately I’ve been so inspired in the studio. I look forward to performing the new songs though!

I saw you in New York City with Lacuna Coilfor their 1.19 show. That seemed like such a big deal for you! And you were amazing. How did you feel about being able to perform with Cristina Scabbia?

It was a dream of an experience. I still can’t believe it was real. I have been a Lacuna Coil fan for over 15 years. During soundcheck when I heard Cristina’s voice come through my in-ears it hit me that I was on stage with one of my idols and I can’t even put into words how that felt!

Video © Shuvodeep De

You have an absolutely beautiful voice. Do you take lessons?

I appreciate that! I am self-taught. I play everything by ear. I learned to sing with the help of a karaoke machine from my grandparents. While other seven-year-olds in the neighborhood were outside playing I was sitting behind a couch in my living room recording myself and then taking notes on what I liked and didn’t like about my voice. I took it very seriously!

I was looking at the song trailers on your website and they’re gorgeous. Do you think you’ll do something like that again in the future? (https://www.melissavanfleet.com/film)

Thanks! Definitely. I collaborated with GHOSTWOOD on the trailers and he is brilliant. He helped bring my vision to life. Ideas are endlessly circulating in my mind and I’m now in the beginning stages of storyboarding a full-length music video.

Take this opportunity to talk about something you wish you could talk about in an interview if only someone would ask the right questions. Future expectations, personal feelings about your work, what you would like fans to know about you and your music…absolutely anything you want. We want to give artists a platform to be heard!

I am a very private person but lately I’ve been opening up more about mental health. It isn’t always comfortable to talk about and sharing your story can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but it is so important. There is often a correlation between pain and dark music for both fans and artists. Knowing that others are going through something similar when I am at my lowest point usually makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and when people hear my lyrics I want them to know that they are not alone in their suffering.

Thank you so much for answering questions for us! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for you in the future. Ode to the Dark is just the beginning of something major – I can already tell!

Thank you! I appreciate your support!